Picture special: Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Leeds United - More to come from ‘excellent’ Whites, insists Monk

Marcus Antonsson celebrates his opening goal. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Marcus Antonsson celebrates his opening goal. Picture Bruce Rollinson
  • Marcus Antonsson puts Leeds in front midway through the second half
  • Chris Wood caps a solid away performance late on
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SECOND-HALF goals from Marcus Antonsson and Chris Wood crowned an outstanding away display from Leeds United, who turned in a resounding performance to take the derby spoils at Hillsborough.

United were full value for their first victory of the Garry Monk regime, with all the questions belonging to his counterpart Carlos Carvalhal, whose Wednesday side could have no complaints after being second best on the day.

Antonsson headed home the opener on 63 minutes following an excellent counter-attack before Wood steered home an excellent Kemar Roofe centre five minutes from time.

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Monk said: “We had a game plan today and the players followed it pretty much to the letter. This was an important win for the players in terms of their progression. We got three points from two great goals and an excellent performance.

“We’re still not the team we want to be, but this was a game which showed a real improvement which is important for the development of our young players.

“We need those little improvements day by day and game by game to get us where we want to be. Everyone knows how tough this league is and there will be setbacks, but it’s our level of consistency which will be important.

“We were the better team today. It was an excellent atmosphere and there were many battles in midfield which are always brought about by derby days. We were really focussed on our job today and it was an excellent win.”

It was the first time that Wednesday had lost back-to-back league games in almost a year.

Coach Carlos Carvalhal said: “This is a disappointing result after a good start to the season with the performances against Aston Villa and Norwich. The game was very physical today and although we ran a lot, we didn’t necessarily run properly.

Carlos Carvalhal and Garry Monk.
 Picture Bruce Rollinson

Carlos Carvalhal and Garry Monk. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Wednesday made two changes from the side who were humbled at Burton, with Fernando Forestieri’s eventful week ending in a recall to the starting line-up, with Gary Hooper - who fired both goals in the 2-0 victory for the hosts at S6 last season - dropping down to the bench.

Leeds old boy Tommy Lees returned at the heart of the back four for the Owls.

Meanwhile, Monk rolled the dice by replacing his entire midfield, with there being no place in his squad at all for Stuart Dallas.

Liam Bridcutt was handed his second debut following his permanent arrival from Sunderland, while Hadi Sacko, Alex Mowatt and Ronaldo Vieira returned to the starting line-up in a youthful looking midfield, with Kemar Roofe, Pablo Hernandez and Kalvin Phillips named on the bench.

Chris Wood celebrates his goal with Hadi Sacko, Kemar Roofe and Soulemayne Doukara.
 Picture Bruce Rollinson

Chris Wood celebrates his goal with Hadi Sacko, Kemar Roofe and Soulemayne Doukara. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Monk’s selection looked somewhat bold, but after a first half in which Leeds delivered pockets of danger on the break, he could be entitled to feel vindicated by his moves.

That said, Wednesday went the closest to scoring, with Liam Cooper clearing Forestieri’s effort on the line after he had rounded Rob Green, while Almen Abdi clipped the bar with a well-taken free-kick four minutes before the interval.

Forestieri announced himself by firing wide in the 11th minute after good play involving Barry Bannan and Abdi, with the latter then heading off target under pressure from Taylor.

The diminutive forward then profited from a Taylor error and was momentarily in the clear before drilling wide and soon after, he was through again, but the covering Cooper cleared his effort in the nick of time close to the goalline.

Leeds’ first chance came to Chris Wood, who headed wide when well placed following Mowatt’s cross, with the visitors starting to grow into the game, with Sacko posing problems down the right in particular.

A superb pass from Ronaldo Vieira sent the winger through on goal on 27 minutes but he failed to control and Kieren Westwood blocked before Marcus Antonsson fired wide a crisp twenty-yarder wide as Leeds enjoyed a decent spell of pressure on the counter and started to pose questions.

Chris Wood celebrates his goal. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Chris Wood celebrates his goal. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Sacko then showed his wares again, skinning Bannan before delivering a cross which found Wood, but his powerful effort was blocked by the alert Jack Hunt.

Abdi then went close with a well-executed free-kick before the half ended with Sacko firing a deflected shot over with both Monk and Carlos Carvalhal afforded postives during a well-contested first half.

The Owls made an interval change, with Hooper entering the fray for Abdi.

It was Leeds who were the brighter in the opening exchanges, with Lees making a timely block to deny Wood before Sacko was off target from an acute angle after being found by Antonsson, who beat Hunt down the right.

And the visitors’ encouraging away-day was then crowned by an impressive 63rd-minute opener.

A searing counter started when Taylor supplied Wood, in acres of space and he switched the play to Sacko.

A neat exchange with Luke Ayling ended with Sacko delivering an inviting cross and with Wednesday stretchered, the lurking Antonsson nodded home, the finishing touch to a top-notch counter.

Stunned into action after a disappointing start to the second period, the Owls also manufactured a leveller when Steven Fletcher evaded Cooper close to the byline and his pull-back found Hooper, whose first-time low shot was blocked superbly by the legs of Rob Green.

Wednesday sought a leveller in the final quarter, with Green gathering in the nick of time ahead of Hooper before Fletcher hooked the ball wide when well placed.

But it was Leeds who went onto convert the second goal with Roofe’s teasing centre steered home clinically by Wood in the 85th minute.

Sacko and Taylor had chances to make it three, with many home fans leaving in droves before the end.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood; Hunt (Buckley 72), Lees, Hutchinson, Pudil; Abdi (Hooper 45), Bannan, Lee, Wallace (Jones 64); Forestieri, Fletcher. Substitutes unused: Wildsmith, Palmer, Joao, Sasso.

Leeds United: Green; Ayling, Bartley, Cooper, Taylor; Sacko (Phillips 88), Vieira, Bridcutt, Mowatt (Roofe 77); Wood, Antonsson (Doukara 69). Substitutes unused: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Hernandez.

Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).

Garry Monk barks out the orders at 
Sheffield Wednesday.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Garry Monk barks out the orders at Sheffield Wednesday. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Hadi Sacko in action against Sheffield Wednesday.

Hadi Sacko in action against Sheffield Wednesday.

Tom Lees and Chris Wood challenge for a high ball.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Tom Lees and Chris Wood challenge for a high ball. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Carlos Carvalhal ponders where it went wrong against Leeds United. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Carlos Carvalhal ponders where it went wrong against Leeds United. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.